Saturday 24 February 2018

Diary of a Schoolteacher: New teacher's 'School of Rock' looks create a storm

E Grade

So early in the school year, the most interesting part of the endless round of staff meetings and work group sessions is getting to know the latest recruits to the team.

Inevitably, I'm stuck beside Kurt Moobs as he texts the other teachers who are always on for heckling the principal and his faithful but useless lackey, the deputy principal. For the deputy principal, it means yet another year stuck in a job that he'll never get out of – he's the wrong side of 50 and beyond deciding which dirty work should be dealt with first. He has never been required to make a decision. It's written all over his miserable face – so many more capable teachers turned their noses up at the job, unwilling to sacrifice all the hours required beyond the mandatory 22 and especially the summer holidays, when their spouses were already being paid huge pensions to get the hell out of that bank they helped drag to the edge of oblivion.

Today, as the principal introduces various new female members of staff, Kurt's tongue hangs out like a slice of Lidl's finest krakau salami. There's a whole range of Sineads, Muireanns and Siobhans for him to get excited about. But he quickly slips it back into that drooling buccal cavity at the shock of seeing new business and accountancy teacher Shane Hillage.

A New York Mets baseball cap rises slowly from his seat from the middle of the room and, he sweeps back his jetblack, shoulder-length hair, it's the dyed spade beard, the piercings in his nose and on his upper lip and the grey baseball T-shirt and matching grey shorts that draws a gasp across the room. I can almost hear everyone thinking, 'teachers don't look like that!'

Most of us are taking an instant dislike to him, and I can see Cahilane, our union rep, a nasty little Kerryman who possesses a range of deadly weapons in his wood work room, already plotting some kind of ghastly injuries to befall this unwelcome interloper to the staff room.

Later on, I approach Mr Hillage during the interlude, feeling sorry for him standing alone in his slacker uniform, but he wastes no time making it clear that if I've never been to Vietnam or Surinam then I'm not worth the time, and he moves on to the new Siobhan.

The big day comes and the new man has his first accountancy class with the sixth years. I told them that Mr Schneebly from the movie 'School of Rock' would be taking them, which they put down to my usual bull.

At first, it's all smirks and shock when he strides in but, when he get down to business and teaches them all that boring accountancy stuff they know, they're onto a winner. Not a word tolerated about classic rock, it's all nose-to-the-grindstone stuff. It could be that society is finally catching up on our education system.

Irish Independent

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